Top 5 Business VoIP Hosted PBX Services

Back in 2015 we ran an article where we tried to determined via market surveys what the largest selling service with the best individual customer feedback were. This was determined across the hosted IP PBX services for business market sector.

Back then we looked at each of the top 5 best performing hosted PBX services to see how each vendor’s service offering compares and what makes a top 5 product. 

The rankings have been taken from PCmags 2015 survey, which determined the top 5 hosted PBX services for business to be:

  1. RingCentral Office
  2. Broadvoice Cloud PBX
  3. Jive Hosted VoIP
  4. Skype for Business
  5. Vonage Business

A lot has changed in the market place since 2015 and so in this article written in 2020 we will revisit this topic to determine which ones in our view are the current top 5 performers in the business hosted PBX segment.

When we determine which vendors to include we have to first determine what constitutes a business PBX. The features that we are most interested generally will include multi-line support, omnichannel support such a voice, text, messaging, video-calling, as well as some voice handling capabilities such as call transfer, call queuing, parking, recording and find-me follow-me techniques so that you never miss a call. Additionally, with the focus being on business there will be extended modern features such as video-call conferencing, team-meetings, team chat and other collaboration tools, such as desktop sharing for video presentations. It is these broad set of communication features that separate hosted or cloud PBX from other virtual telephone service that deal primarily with incoming call management.

Interestingly, there have been many changes since 2015 and our current listing is as follows:

1) RingCentral

RingCentral has long been a leader in the hosted PBX market and so it is no surprise that it shows up once more at the head of the field both in terms of number of customers as well as in popularity. Indeed RingCentral consistently scores well with its large customer base. What makes RingCentral so popular is it extensive range of features and wide selection of service plans which all companies of all sizes to find a good fit. Indeed, RingCentral’s Cloud based PBX is a true Unified Communication as a Service (UCaaS) platform. This means that it goes well beyond basic call handling and messaging features and now incorporates collaboration and productivity features such as business application integration with a large number of popular business applications. In addition, popular features with customer’s are RingCentral’s highly developed and excellent softphones and mobile apps as mobility is now a must-have feature for the modern business as is there reactive 24/7 customer support. As standard, RingCentral is a Messaging, Video, and Phone System Combined, which has Unlimited calls within the US/CA, Unlimited business SMS, Voicemail-to-text, Team messaging and Document sharing, Business phone numbers in over 100 countries, Unlimited internet fax and audio conferencing as well as video meetings with up to 100 participants. Popular integrations including SalesForce, Office 365, G Suite, and Slack.

2) Ooma Office

Ooma is a California based VoIP communications company that caters for both small business and enterprise customers. They boast that they have products to support customer whether they be 1, 20 or 200 users. For small businesses Ooma Office is proving to be an excellent product as it is receiving very favorable feedback from its loyal customer base. Indeed Ooma would win hands down in the popularity stakes if that was all we were judging. Unfortunately despite having a good range of voice and messaging features Ooma lacks in more advanced functions. For instance there are no value add collaboration and productivity tools as everything focuses  on being a voice and messaging system and doing the very well.

Indeed although there is a mobile app available you need to upgrade to get a high quality softphone for the desktop. There is also a lack of messaging tools that are commonly available on competitors’ products although there is SMS. Similarly voice-mail transcription is extra as is call recording and there is no video support.

The lack of UCaaS or for that matter multi-channel support may be worrying but that doesn’t seem to bother Ooma’s loyal customers who rate the Ooma Office very highly indeed.

3) Broadvoice Cloud PBX

Broadvoice is another top ranked business service that was formerly known as PhonePower and that larger customer based in the US has helped it get a great reputation for support. Broadvoice however has now really shifted their emphasis away from SoHo and small businesses to provideding support for the larger SMB. Thus Broadvoice now supports a wide array or features and phone options.

As a business orientated service Broadvoice has all the standard unified communication and IP PBX features you now would expect in a business product such as an auto receptionist, IVR menus, voice, messaging, video and collaboration tools and online administration. However, a bonus with Broadvoice is there are also call center features with some nice training and supervisory tools like call monitoring, call barge and call whisper, which announces the caller’s name. These features provide all the business capabilities for an SMB or startup to appear as a large company, hence its top 5 placing.

4) Nextiva

Nextiva is a cloud based UCaaS that has improved a lot over the recent years and enters our top five for the first time in 2020. The areas of improvement has been where Nextiva has widened the product scope to include many advanced collaboration and productivity tools to complement their existing voice, messaging and video platform. Not only is Nextiva a very good platform for business it also has excellent softphones and mobile apps that let you connect to the business telephone service wherever you are. In addition, Nextiva provides an “out-of-the-box” solution for many business apps such as customer relations management (CRM) software and financial apps that is suitable for most small and medium sized businesses. However they do also provide an API for you in-house developers to use if they need to integrate Nextiva with their own products. Some of the APIs available to software developers are APIs for Zendesk, Salesforce, MailChimp, Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook.

5) Vonage Business

Vonage for Business is an enterprise-class cloud based IP PBX service that delivers an excellent multi-channel UCaaS service. It also comes with high quality and high performance handsets, desktop and mobile apps. The Business service also has full enterprise-class feature-sets and call center capabilities however some of these come as premium features and at an extra cost. Where Vonage excels is through their ability to easily upgrade and mix and match features across service plans this makes customizing or upgrading your system very easy. Also due to Vonage’s VoIP pedigree with International VoIP call rates they have cost-effective international calling packages and business number available around the globe. Therefore, if you are an SMB with an international client base this could be the service for you.

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